Asafoetida powder is a substance used for respiratory issues such as chronic bronchitis and asthma as well as digestive problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, according to WebMD. The powder comes from the Asafoetida plant and has a terrible smell and bitter taste.
The powder is produced by crystallizing juice that comes from incisions made in the plants roots. Asafoetida is used to treat hysteria, convulsions and depression and is sometimes applied directly to the skin to treat calluses and other dermal conditions, according to WebMD. Women sometimes use the powder to normalize their menstrual periods after they stop menstruating for various reasons.